Rambling On Super Sentai And Real Life Writes The Plot Scenarios
Ever heard of the plot where it says, "Real Life Writes the Plot"? Well, it's already very common and plenty of them has happened. Super Sentai is no exception to the rule. Ever heard of the first Kamen Rider series when Hiroshi Fujioka injured himself during the stunt scenes that they brought in a second Kamen Rider as a result? Super Sentai has had those issues which would result to certain plots happening every now and then.
Replacement rangers during the older days of Super Sentai
Most of the old school Super Sentai may have had some better storywriting (at least for me) but it did have several plots that resulted to writing off. The first time I encountered was the writing off the original Yellow Four namely Mika Koizumi. I can't forget how I saw her die in the rather badly done dub of Bioman. There were many theories behind why Yuki Yajima left -- some say it was pay issues with Japan Action Club (which she worked part time somewhere else and suddenly left), another says she was pregnant and well the unverified one was that she ran off with one of the cast set. The story was never verified and we had Sumiko Tanaka take the role as the second Yellow Four. But that was just the beginning of me knowing about what happened.
The more I discovered more about pre-Zyuranger Super Sentai -- the more I discovered there were more replacement rangers than just Jun Yabuki. Goranger, Battle Fever J and Sun Vulcan also had them. Battle Fever J had some personal reasons why both the first Battle Cossack and the first Miss America were written off -- the actor Takeshi Ito got married midseason (which is quite unusual for Super Sentai) so he requested to be written off though Diane Martin's arranged departure somewhat remains unknown. From what's obvious -- Diane's voice was dubbed in Japanese by Lisa Komaki who also appeared as a guest in said series. Goranger's Kiranger I Baku Hatakeyama was acting in a play and was later substituted by Jiro Daruma -- later Kiranger II was killed when Kiranger I returned. Sun Vulcan's Ryusuke Kawasaki left the show to work on an album and was effectively replaced by Takayuki Godai -- talk about changing the main character midseason!
Villains getting written off
Turboranger was notable for having that midseason shift when episodes 28-30 would feature the end of the three Bouma generals. So why that happened was most likely due to real life writes plot. So why Zimba was written off when they can always get another voice actor and stunt double was written off is something -- maybe they couldn't get another one! Though for the humanoid villains Jarmin and Rehda -- it seems that both adult film actress Kanako Kishi and the late Masashi Ishibashi had totally different issues. It seems that Ishisashi (the last to be written off) was negotiated not to leave but the people behind Toei failed -- making Rehda the last to be written off. It was said that Ishibashi hated his role because that painful headgear he had to wear while acting Rehda -- causing said character to be written off. Kanako seemed to have also wanted to leave which forced Toei to end up killing Jarmin in the process.
We can also talk about Megaranger where Gurail was written off and a few episodes later -- we get the highly dangerous trolls known as the Neziranger. I know, Gurail was a pretty sadistic and sick villain then he was written off in the most badass way possible. It seems to be that the writers may have had plans to have him interact with the trolls or troll the trolls. But it seemed that the writers just wanted to focus more on Nezirangers than Gurail. I wanted to have both of them but I think the Nezirangers themselves were a threat on their own. It's easier to write the Megarangers without Gurail around -- I guess we can't blame the writers for deciding to get rid of what could be considered excess baggage.
Maybe the same also went for Kamen Rider in the earlier days. I wonder how much old school Showa era Kamen Rider have you tried watching. Some of the humanoid generals were written off. It's probably due to short-term contracts or cast members wanting to leave -- then you can have a combination of both which resulted to the villains having their final missions against the hero of the show. Though it's somewhat unknown to why Jun Yoshida left Kamen Rider Black -- he was probably contracted to just appear up to that point OR he probably had personal reason to leave the show. The way Bilgenia died seems like Yoshida had a last minute departure causing the second half to go to Shadow Moon.
Ohranger was intended to be the darkest Super Sentai BUT something happened -- remember the Sarin Gas explosion in 1995? Ohranger's first seven episodes were considerably serious but the terrorist incident along with an earthquake forced writers to try and change the tone. There were some rather ridiculous episodes such as the baby quake disaster (which is just stupid) or making humans fall in love with their equipment (which again is just so stupid) -- the show's inconsistent nature can make it hard to watch. Ohranger had low ratings 4.4% though it was backed up by cool merchandise. Fortunately, it's been vindicated overtime as Ohranger DVD sales succeeded and hence Super Sentai DVD sales are still going on!
The knee-jerk reaction caused them to create what some may consider to be the stupidest show ever namely CAAAAARRRRANGER! While I'd still pick Carranger over Power Rangers Turbo but there are times that I'd actually pick Turboranger over Carranger. Carranger itself has a lot of weird humor going on and somebody can just scream and shout, "IT'S NOT FUNNY!" while others enjoy it for what it is. There seems to be no middle ground for it. Ratings only increased up to 4.8% in contrast to Megaranger having much higher ratings than Carranger.
I just felt that it's almost like the whole Turboranger to Fiveman incident. It's two shows in a row where ratings are just starting to drop -- way back before the digital age took over TV.
GoGoFive and Timeranger
GoGoFive and Timeranger were re-exploring the more mature, intense side of Super Sentai which was common in the 80s. If you've watched Bioman up to Liveman -- those shows were actually pretty serious in their own way even with some comedic approaches. GoGoFive and Timeranger were trying to implement that in the late 90s -- perhaps as a knee jerk reaction to the demise of Metal Hero in the late 90s with Robotack in January 24 1999 as the last Metal Hero series. Metal Hero tried to get kiddified with Kabutack and Robotack and failed -- so it's probably why GoGoFive and Timeranger attempted to be that serious.
GoGoFive was trying to redo some Metal Hero vibes by mixing Metal Hero elements and Fiveman. Fiveman it's because GoGoFive is the second sibling Super Sentai -- heck even the costumes may remind some people of Fiveman! Shinichi Ishihara who is GoGoFive's lead singer did a cover for Fiveman's opening too! GoGoFive tried to focus on how mature Super Sentai can get or even the mor realistic approach -- such as combining robots in the weirdest way possible. The show has several good stuff like how often I call Grandienne as Meadow done right or how the Tatsumi family is more fleshed out than the Hoshikawas. Also, the show managed to get away without a regular sixth hero -- it wouldn't make sense if they had one because it was called GoGoFive! Also, the Grand Cross was happening -- which GoGoFive somehow got away with associating it with the main antagonist Grandienne herself.
Timeranger came and it was probably because it was the year 2000. It would be the opening of a new decade (2000s) while the end of the 20th century. Timeranger once again attempted to be as mature as possible with several layers of complexity. While the show is well-received by older audiences and it gets praise -- the toy sales were rather low. Think about how Go-Busters would get praise from older audiences while suffering low on toy sales. The show may have had to insert Time Fire for additional toy sales or demand for a sixth ranger -- though the show introduced him midway unlike other sixth rangers who usually appear in the first quarter!
Though it can be said Toei got too ambitious for its own good. Weird how Winspector up to Janperson all got so much praise yet Super Sentai's getting too ambitious didn't immediately work. The result was probably yet another knee jerk which resulted to...
The toning down of Super Sentai from 2001 - Gokaiger
Violence in Super Sentai was noticeably tone down such as bleeding was severely toned down. I even think of the Gaoranger temporary deaths to be pretty tame in contrast to deaths that came before them. Who can remember the generous amounts of blood GoGoFive and Timeranger had? Who can't forget the way Naoto died in Timeranger bleeding to death after he was shot at a long distance by a Zenitto soldier? The toning down really did wonders or not.
Gaoranger was the 25th anniversary and the very first 21st Century Super Sentai Heisei era series. The series would be succeeded by more toning down in succeeding series. Hurricanger's first episode massacre is nowhere as brutal as Liveman's first episode massacre. Abaranger did still still have some scary vibes such as Mikoto Nakadai (and he had a rather brutal death where he repented of all the wrongs he did in the series) and Dezumozoryla. Dekaranger still had some episodes that had some blood and alcohol -- though the action scenes are considerably of lower intensity than what you could see from Winspector to Janperson. Magiranger itself is a very silly season. Boukenger may have had that badass scene of Sakura and Natsuki using guns but the series' violence is considerably low. Gekiranger may be a martial arts series but the violence was nowhere near Dairanger. Go-Onger seems to be another attempt at comedy. Shinkenger is a samurai series but the blood is pretty low and characters are more fun than serious. Goseiger is light and fun. Gokaiger had some few bloody scenes but they are still tame.
Go-Busters would attempt to return back to darker and edgier -- it's almost like Yasuko Kobayashi pulling a Toshiki Inoue. Inoue had Faiz and Kobayashi has Go-Busters. However, it seems to be a bad idea to return to darker and edgier -- something Shinichiro Shirakura liked to do like he did with Kamen Rider Agito, Kamen Rider Ryuki, Kamen Rider Faiz and the mature-only series Kamen Rider Amazons. Go-Busters may have also wanted to follow Power Rangers RPM formula but the 2012 doomsday hoax may have prevented it -- it was probably not pushed through because out of the fear of massive panic may come soon!
Then I thought about arrival of Kyoryuger. I guess it's all because children love dinosaurs or was it because it was Abaranger's tenth anniversary? Strangely, Abaranger takes place in 2003 which is ten years after Mighty Morphin' and not Zyuranger. Kyoryuger would be 20 years after Mighty Morphin'. Is it a coincidence or not? I can't be too sure but it seems real life may have written plot in here or not.
Ninninger was soon written after ToQGer which was possibly a nod to Kakuranger. Kakuranger happened in 1995 and this show aired 20 years later. Also, it would be Goranger's 40th anniversary though technically -- Ninninger isn't the 40th season but Zyuohger. So I wonder did the people at Toei have Kakuranger in mind when they directed Ninninger?
Super Sentai Strongest Battle would have probably been created as a four-part tribute as the last pure Heisei era Super Sentai came to an end. We all know Lupinranger vs. Patranger is the last pure Heisei series because Ryusoulger will soon have to mix with the Reiwa era by next month. The four-part series is probably also to celebrate the longevity of the series as Super Sentai is indeed the longest-running series. The series may also be some kind of finale to set for the pure Heisei series since Ryusoulger won't be pure Heisei anymore -- it's going to be like what happened to Kamen Rider Black RX when it aired late in the Showa era and most of its episodes aired during the Heisei era.
Meanwhile, it seems Ryusoulger was supposed to be dragons but the dinosaurs got inserted because of one movie last year -- Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The characters look like they are of European origin (and Zyuranger's Dino People had European aesthetics too). I wonder was the dragon theme scrapped off in favor of dinosaurs because of a movie last year which screened in Japan last July 2, 2018? I can't be too sure but they probably already had the dragons in set but the movie may have caught their attention to shift to dinosaurs. But that's just a speculation, right?
What do you think were real life events that influenced Super Sentai throughout the years?